That was then and this is now and Crown Street Assembly is nothing like Tabou. This space is sexy, modern with a cool new attitude and a menu to please. The owner Erez who is Israeli, is friendly and distant at the same time and he keeps a sharp eye on everything to make sure it all runs smooth. No doubt that’s something Erez would have perfected at the wonderful Melbourne restaurant Jacques Reymond, where we had many a perfect meal in the mid 1990′s when we lived there.
To start, we shared a small plate of homemade gnocchi, pan fried with spinach, broccoli and blue cheese ($18) – the gnocchi was light and fluffy on the inside with a light caramelised crunch on the outside from the pan frying in the richness of butter. The blue cheese was used to add a sharp contrast to everything and it was used with restraint here. It was perfect. A good chef remembers the potato gnocchi is the star in this dish.
Our mains – roast suckling pig, tete de couchon, beetroot on celeriac puree, caramelised apple with calvados jus ($36). The crackling on the pork was perfectly dry and crisp with the tender moist young flavour of the suckling beneath. The pig’s head reconstituted in a perfectly formed deep fried disc of pure taste. The beetroot with its sweet, earthiness was lovely with the richness of the pig. The other flavours were subsumed by the pork – but you’ll probably say what’s the issue with that!
Our other main was crispy skin duck breast, Aylesbury duck, spiced duck pie, eggplant and port sauce ($35). We find delight when a chef handles spices with such confidence like in this dish – not a heavy handedness – just the right balance. Maybe we thank the influence of the owner Erez’s Israeli heritage.
Waiter Eduardo suggested a spanish tempranillo shiraz ($35), and he was on the ball. The wine was a perfect balance, full of soft tannins with a light spice to finish. Chef Paul Cooper showed a experienced kitchen working on Saturday night.
The verdict – Crown Street Assembly is a good restaurant. The menu is quite a large one for a restaurant of this quality – and that is unusual by today’s standard. But it’s nice to see a restaurant where the celebritiness of the chef is not more important than the food. Crown St Assembly has Melbourne restaurant heritage and the celebrity chef is more obvious in Sydney. It’s also great to see Melbourne restaurants coming to Sydney – Sydney has always embraced other restaurants from around the world with open arms as the truly global city Sydney is.
Crown St Assembly
527 Crown St Surry Hills
sydneycool rating ♥♥